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Restriction of Non-Essential Cross-Border Traffic from Mexico and Canada Extended Through September 21st

19 Aug

Beginning on March 20, 2020, the U.S. Mexican, and Canadian governments announced their collaboration in restricting non-essential travel across their shared borders. These restrictions were subsequently extended multiple times, most recently on July 16, 2020. On August 14, 2020, the Acting Secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security announced via Twitter yet another extension of these restrictions. 

Per the most recently announced extension, the U.S.-Canada and U.S.-Mexico borders will continue to be closed to non-essential travel through September 21, 2020. The restriction expressly exempts air, freight rail, or sea travel; however, some U.S. Customs & Border Protection (CBP) officers are also questioning the “essential” nature of travelers through pre-flight inspection stations in Canadian international airports. 

As previously mentioned, the published definition of “non-essential travel” remains unchanged and includes traffic for tourism or recreational purposes, so travel for work and the movement of goods and services should continue to remain exempt from these restrictions. However, in some cases, CBP appears to be evaluating individuals applying for admission for work purposes based on whether the worker would be considered an essential worker, and some officers are not admitting those who they consider to be non-essential workers. 

Foster will continue to monitor government closures and other action related to COVID-19 and will provide additional updates on the immigration-related impacts of COVID-19 via our firm’s website at